Battle to Survive in Congo Republic as Wages, Pensions Stop

If it wasn’t for two sons in France sending money, pensioner George Kimbembe says he’d have joined the ranks of the dead in the Republic of Congo’s capital, Brazzaville. That foreign cash is a lifeline for the 76-year-old former civil servant who hasn’t received his pension for 13 months. It’s a shortfall emblematic of a fiscal crisis engulfing the oil-producing central African country that was battered by lower crude prices, owes creditors more than $9 billion and is seeking an International Monetary Fund bailout, Bloomberg News reported. “How does the government expect us to survive?” Kimbembe said in an interview. “Some of my fellow pensioners have died because they couldn’t pay for their medication or feed themselves.” Such complaints are echoed throughout Brazzaville and the broader country of 4.2 million people, where companies can’t meet their bills, employees -- if they’ve been kept on -- wait months for wages and foreign business owners talk of calling it quits. Read more.